We are a family without children, but normally our nephew & niece, their friends, our godson and his siblings knock on our door for trick or treating. I’m a bit ambivalent about the commercialised Hallowe’en. When I was a small kid it wasn’t a thing – we had Bonfire Night (or ‘Guy Fawkes’ as Mum used to call it.) on November 5th, which was all about (for us) the community bonfire with the Guy on top, fireworks and sparklers.
I first encountered Hallowe’en as we know it now when we went to live in Dublin when I was 8. My Mum was terribly embarrassed when all these groups of dressed up children knocked on our door and she didn’t know what was supposed to happen… In the end she didn’t answer it anymore. But the next year she was prepared with a huge bowl of what we knew as monkey nuts, but which I think are peanuts in their shells. (I’m allergic to nuts, I have no idea!) And that was what was given out to Trick or Treaters, nuts and some very small sweets, a few mini chocolate bars. I think I went out once or twice but as I pretty much couldn’t eat what I collected I wasn’t really interested. Some families had fireworks but I don’t remember it being a thing.
And of course the Irish don’t celebrate Bonfire Night as it is effectively a celebration of the foiling of a plot to blow up Parliament and the King. There’s a really nice simple resource on the Parliament website about the Gunpowder Plot and a really great book on the subject is Antonia Fraser’s The Gunpowder Plot, Terror and Faith in 1605.
I hope children in schools are learning about that and the historical background of All Hallow’s Eve. And to put the apostrophe in Hallowe’en! Oooh I’m sounding curmudgeonly. Lovely American friends, I’m probably never going to wish you Happy Hallowe’en….
So tonight I have candles in the window, these in a tin